Fundraising Regulator will write off unpaid levy requests 'at the end of the year'

The regulator will instead focus on asking charities to pay the voluntary sum to cover the second year of its operation

Fundraising Regulator's offices
Fundraising Regulator's offices

The Fundraising Regulator will write off any unpaid first-year contributions through the fundraising levy if they are not received by the end of the year.

The regulator will instead switch its focus to pursuing contributions for the second-year levy, according to blog post by Stephen Service, the regulator’s policy manager, published today.

Charities that spend more than £100,000 a year on fundraising have been asked to pay a voluntary annual levy of between £150 and £15,000 to fund the Fundraising Regulator, and last week the regulator published a list showing the 162 charities that had not paid the sum for its first year of existence.

In the blog, Service said: "Although we will continue, until December 2017, to negotiate with charities who have so far not paid the Year 1 levy, our priority will be to send out the invoices for Year 2 payments."

Gerald Oppenheim, head of policy and communications at the regulator, confirmed that this meant the regulator would stop seeking payment for year one in December.

"We will continue to pursue payments until the end of the year and then move on," he told Third Sector.

Many of the 162 charities that have not paid the year-one levy contribution have done so out of principle, but some have objected that their inclusion in the levy or the amount they are being asked to pay has been based on inaccurate or outdated information.

In his blog, Service said the regulator might be prepared to take a more flexible approach to which data is used to calculate how much a charity should contribute.

The levy is based on each charity’s spending on fundraising according to its annual return to the Charity Commission for the year ended 31 December 2014. Because each charity has its own financial year, this is the most recent year for which data for all charities is available.

Service said the regulator might be prepared to base the levy calculation on the most recent annual return each individual charity has submitted to the commission, "if a charity prefers this".

The regulator will begin issuing requests for year-two payments from this month, starting with those charities that are eligible to pay the highest rates of fees – £15,000, £12,000 and £6,000 – Service’s blog revealed.

Charities due to pay less than £1,000 will be contacted in October, he said.

Charities that had not paid the year-one levy would be contacted separately about paying the year-two levy in October, he said.

Service said the regulator was currently working to establish which charities in Northern Ireland, which officially came under the scope of the regulator only in June, were eligible to pay the fundraising levy, and planned to send out invoices separately over the next few months.

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